Zimbabwean diplomats eager to speedily advance Brand Zimbabwe

07 Nov, 2022 - 00:11 0 Views
Zimbabwean diplomats eager to speedily advance Brand Zimbabwe Ambassadors follow proceedings at the official opening of the Foreign Affairs and International Trade senior management and ambassadors retreat in Bulawayo last week

The Chronicle

Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN diplomats have expressed eagerness to speedily advance Brand Zimbabwe in a bid to counter negative perceptions and narratives about the country which have soiled the country’s image for close to two decades.

Once the Brand Zimbabwe campaign gets in full motion, diplomats said they are confident of turning around the economic fortunes of the country and attract major foreign investors.

Last week, diplomats and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s senior management gathered in Bulawayo for a week-long retreat to map out strategies tailor-made to clean up the country’s image.

The retreat was themed, “Retooling Zimbabwe’s Diplomacy for Accelerated Economic

Transformation: Through Re-affirmation, Engagement and Re-engagement”.

In her address on Brand Zimbabwe, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa stressed to the diplomats that they are a critical cog in rebuilding the country’s image.

Government cannot go it alone, said Minister Mutsvangwa, emphasising that diplomats bear a special responsibility in promoting and maintaining a strong brand adding that “you are the first image of the country that they encounter, and as such we’ll often be judged or commended through you.”

“Branding of a country is not something that the Government can do alone. It’s about coming up with a central idea which the whole nation coalesces around.

Minister Monica Mutsvangwa

“As Zimbabwe’s faces in lands afar, the Zimbabwean diplomats and their constituencies are a critical cog in the framing of the Zimbabwean narrative and the curating of its brand.”

In September, the Government launched the Brand Zimbabwe project with the aim of moulding a new Zimbabwe under a new political culture and industrious workmanship.

In her presentation, Minister Mutsvangwa detailed the importance of rebranding saying the national brand suffered from the assault by the West following the fast-track land reform programme of 2000 in which the Government acquired agricultural land from former white commercial farmers and redistributed it to the black majority from whose ancestors it had been forcibly taken by white settlers.
Britain then sold the dispute to other Western countries and the United States, mobilising them to impose illegal sanctions on our country.

“This led to Zimbabwe being ostracised from the rest of the world, with some sponsored local and international media on the onslaught to portray the country in bad light. It is against this background that we found it imperative to re-assert our real identity and spruce up our image and begin to play a part in the community of nations, hence the Brand Zimbabwe Project,” said the minister.

Cde Victor Matemadanda

“Brand Zimbabwe cannot be achieved without your serious engagement and commitment. The Ministry of Information hopes to establish a strong partnership with you to package attractive investment information for the development and prosperity of the people of Zimbabwe. This should be fairly easy to do, considering the policies and strides of the Second Republic.”

In interactions with ambassadors, they indicated that they drew inspiration from Minister Mutsvangwa’s talk that ignited their desire to work overtime promoting Brand Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Mozambique, Cde Victor Matemadanda said it is the duty of ambassadors to propagate the true Zimbabwean story internationally.

Senior Government officials and ambassadors follow proceedings during a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade strategic planning review at a Bulawayo hotel.

“Zimbabwe has been taken for a pariah state, assumed to be lawless and at civil war. The rebranding process will undoubtedly instil the correct perception about Zimbabwe. It is important that the world knows the true picture of our country.

“As a diplomat, I’ll intensify Brand Zimbabwe which dovetails with re-engagement and engagement exercises.”

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Zambia, Charity Charamba said she is energised to effectively spread Brand Zimbabwe saying “it is the way to go”.

Ambassador Charity Charamba

“The minister (Mutsvangwa) was forthright on the importance of rebranding Zimbabwe and this is what we need,” said Ambassador Charamba.

“When we’re at our postings, the narrative about Zimbabwe is the very opposite of what we see here. I’m happy that the Ministry of Information has taken a noble stance to rebrand our country.

“As embassies, we’re going to intensify the rebranding exercise. For instance, a Ghanaian High Commissioner in Zambia visited Zimbabwe. She was amazed with what she saw here and she told me she will advocate for a true image of Zimbabwe to be told. Rebranding Zimbabwe is the way to go.”
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Senegal, James Maridadi added that it is imperative to rebrand Zimbabwe to counter negative perceptions implanted by hostile international media outlets.

“Zimbabwe has to be rebranded. In the area that I oversee, they don’t know much about Zimbabwe.

The information they get about Zimbabwe is from hostile international media organisations. If you talk to a typical ordinary person in West Africa, they think Zimbabwe is at war.

“One businessman was surprised to hear that a 737 Ethiopian Airlines is landing at three airports in three different cities (Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls) and Zimbabwe is the only country in Africa where Ethiopian Airlines has done it.”

“That’s the story of Zimbabwe that diplomats must tell; a story that Zimbabwe is an emerging economy, a giant which is awakening,” said Ambassador Maridadi.

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